Notes from Norman

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The Independent Self

by Norman P. Grubb

Look at Jacob. We would say that it is incredible because we are mainly living on our own resources. That is where all our failings come from. Mainly it is some elements of self- reliance, self-scheming, and self-effort about us. We don’t see it. And God has to give us a great unveiling. I doubt whether any soul can come through into the deeper relationship with God without a personality crash. There has to be a personality crash sometime, when everything is going to be a ruin around you—probably when you are serving Him. It can suddenly dawn on you. Now I like the dawning on Jacob. It’s clearer than the dawning on Moses. We all know Jacob’s scheming, and we all know the consequences which were going to come to him; Esau was going to have his blood. Esau swore he would kill him for what Jacob had done to him.

We know how Jacob was at the bottom of his heart obedient. (These things only happen to obedient hearts not the disobedient. I am not talking to the unelect. Only the obedient heart can hear God’s voice and follow him.) God said to Jacob, “You go back. You go back now.” Sure enough he heard in a few days, “Esau is coming to meet you with four hundred men. There is going to be a public lynching here. He is going to show the whole world what he is going to do to you.” And fear was upon Jacob. Upon whom wouldn’t it be?

And then we know the old schemer again sent presents of camels, presents of donkeys, presents of sheep, and this and that. But he knew in his heart that Esau would wipe them aside. Esau wasn’t after presents of camels, sheep, and donkeys. He was after some other donkey! And as a last resort we know what Jacob did. Jacob thought, “Esau, the hard, hard Esau, will have pity when he sees the women and children. I will send them forward with camels. When he sees little children, that will break him up.” But Jacob knew very well that it wouldn’t touch him. Esau didn’t care “that” for all the little children in the world.

Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954
Topic: “The Liberated Self”